What to do if you lose your dog or cat in France

We realise how profoundly upsetting  to lose your beloved pet even if it is only for a few hours but there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure the maximum possibility of their safe return.  This fact sheet should help we hope. It only  takes one person to spot your pet for you to be reunited if both parties know what to do.

  • If your pet is chipped, contact I-CAD and check that your contact details are up-to-date the need to be contacted immediately  –  https://www.i-cad.fr/articles/animal_perdu
  • Contact Pet Alert France for your department using Petective if possible – https://petective.fr – or the departmental page, for example https://www.facebook.com/Pet.Alert.Fr.65/
  • ADA is in each department and extremely reactive :
    (each department has its own page you can pm them to explain – unlike pet alert though pet alert has more views).
  • The above are excellent resources with websites and Facebook pages listing lost and found pets. Post your lost pet on these and take a good look at the found sections. The Facebook pages are regionalised so post on more than one if you are on a departmental border.
  • Spread the word of your lost pet far and wide using the power of the internet. If you are using Facebook (if you don’t, find someone who does), ask people to share your post. Remember, when your animal is found, please update and remove the posts.
  • If you need help with a search that is taking longer or need help with the language contact Gabriella Tardy, especially, but not exclusively for French dogs lost in the UK, or British dogs lost in France :
  • Put up posters and lay out flyers in your area and in local shops (bakery, presse, tabac/pmu) , restaurants, petrol stations, post offices. Ask your neighbours and friends to help with printing and distribution of these. Make sure a photo of your pet and your contact details are on these and make sure calls in both French and English can be answered! In the countryside flyers are very effective because many people do not use internet in the older French community and yet they are often those who take in a lost animal and so flyers need to be put up quickly.
  • Inform your local Mairie and local Chasse, vets, shelters and gendarmes. Provide them with photos of your pet and your contact details.
  • Inform your postman or postlady – these people go round your neighbourhood and cover many km talking to lots of people every day so ask them to keep a lookout and to spread the word. Provide them with flyers. Make sure your contact details are on these and make sure calls in both French and English can be answered!
  • Gather a group of friends and neighbours to carry out a thorough search of your neighbourhood. Ask people to take a photo of your pet, copies of flyers, nice- smelling treats and leads (for a lost dog) or in some cases not to approach you know how your pet reacts.
  • Ask neighbours to check outbuildings and sheds and to listen out for your pet.
  • Check your nearest Animal Shelters for their lost and found animals – go and visit it you can. Call the section of the refuge called the Fourrière (pound).
  • And don’t give up, it can take days but the more momentum you create the higher the chances of you being reunited safe and sound.


Always have your pets chipped and information up to date. A foreign chip will not be read easily here and it is simple and cheap to get your local vet to update it. Even something as simple not telling I-Cad about a change in phone number can lead to added hours or days of distress.

Identification via a microchip is obligatory for all dogs in France over the age of 4 months. It is not legal to buy or sell a dog of any age in France without a microchip.